What is the worst thing about having children? Is it the lack of sleep? The lack of being able to do what you want anymore? Is it the stretch marks and serious abdominal surgery? The inability to conduct jumping jacks without peeing on yourself?
Or is it the more sinister things, such as fearing every time they toddle towards the stairs? Or losing them in the crowd when there is a river nearby? Or is it feeling something off in your gut when the eight year old tries coaxing your two year old into a dark corner?
The worst part of being a parent, to me, is seeing the parts of yourself that you hate manifested into a little body that didn’t ask for the same demons you fight every day. It’s seeing your child throwing themselves around the room in tantrum of indescribable anger, remembering those feelings of fury and hate and lashing out because they still happen to you. It’s watching your child throw hate at you and only being able to stand there and show him love. It’s watching your child as though you are watching yourself. It’s seeing what you brought on your sweet child with YOUR genetics.
Of course, it’s my job to teach him how to manage his anger and hate and other emotions that he feels at peak capacity. But how can I do that when I still struggle? How can I teach him stuff that I have only actively been working on for under seven years? How can I teach someone so little whose his emotions are so big that those emotions are still valid? How can I teach him that the world doesn’t like empathetic people who feel in a big way? How can I teach him to not give in to that hate?
I can only try to teach him how I was taught and am still learning, by being the calm in his storm. But when I look down at him when he’s done and laying in exhaustion, and he strokes my face, I think of the enormity of the job I have ahead. Luckily, my husband is a thousand anchors so I am not alone. However, my fear is that I will fail my child as I was failed, simply because my own storm is too much. That is the worst part of parenting.